The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom HTML version

Chapter 19
He Puts Himself Under The Guidance Of His Associate, And Stumbles Upon The
French Camp, Where He Finishes His Military Career.
Nothing else of moment was transacted during that campaign; and in the winter
our adventurer, with the young Count, and his friend the Tyrolese, were disposed
in quarters of cantonment, where Ferdinand made himself amends for the
chagrin he had undergone, by the exercise of those talents in which he excelled.
Not that he was satisfied with the sphere of life in which he acted; though he
knew himself consummate in the art of play, he was not at all ambitious of a
gamester's name; nor did he find himself disposed to hazard those discoveries
and explanations to which heroes of that class are sometimes necessarily
exposed. His aim was to dwell among the tents of civil life, undisturbed by
quarrels and the din of war, and render mankind subservient to his interest, not
by stratagems which irritate, but by that suppleness of insinuation, which could
not fail to soothe the temper of those on whom he meant to prey.
He saw that all his expectations of Count Melvil's future favour were connected
with his choice of a military life; and that his promotion in the service would, in a
great measure, depend upon his personal behaviour in such emergencies as he
did not at all wish to encounter. On the other hand, he confided so much in his
own dexterity and address, that he never doubted of being able to rear a splendid
fortune for himself, provided he could once obtain a fixed and firm foundation. He
had in fancy often enjoyed a prospect of England, not only as his native country,
to which, like a true citizen, he longed to be united; but also as the land of
promise, flowing with milk and honey, and abounding with subjects on which he
knew his talents would be properly exercised.
These reflections never occurred, without leaving a strong impression upon the
mind of our adventurer, which influenced his deliberations in such a manner, as
at length amounted to a perfect resolution of withdrawing himself privately from a
service that teemed with disagreeable events, and of transporting himself into the
country of his ancestors, which he considered as the Canaan of all able
adventurers. But, previous to his appearance on that stage, he was desirous of
visiting the metropolis of France, in which he hoped to improve himself in the
knowledge of men and things, and acquire such intelligence as would qualify him
to act a more important part upon the British scene. After having for some time
indulged these prospects in secret, he determined to accommodate himself with
the company and experience of the Tyrolese, whom, under the specious title of
an associate, he knew he could convert into a very serviceable tool, in forwarding
the execution of his own projects.
Accordingly, the inclination of this confederate was sounded by distant hints, and
being found apt, our hero made him privy to his design of decamping without
beat of drum; though, at the same time, he begged his advice touching the
method of their departure, that he might retire with as much delicacy as the
nature of such a step would permit. Divers consultations were held upon this
subject, before they adhered to the resolution of making their escape from the
army, after it should have taken the field in the spring; because, in that case, they